The Terrorist Prince is a gripping insider’s account of the Pakistani resistance organization Al-Zulfikar (in Urdu, “The Sword”), set up in 1979 after the coup by General Ziaul-Haq and the execution of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Raja Anwar, the author, was an advisor to Prime Minister Bhutto and one of the organizers of the campaign to save his life after his conviction on a trumped-up murder charge. Named as a traitor by Zia, and liable to execution if arrested, Anwar sought asylum in Germany. But when Bhutto’s sons Murtaza and Shahnawaz asked him to join them, he agreed and participated in the founding of Al-Zulfikar.
Raja Anwar recounts the transformation of Al-Zulfikar into a terrorist group, run by Murtaza Bhutto as his own exclusive fiefdom. In 1981, the organization hijacked a Pakistani airline en route to Kabul. Twice it came close to assassinating Zia. For his opposition to Murtaza’s leadership, Anwar was imprisoned in Kabul for four years. Murtaza himself was killed by the police in Karachi in 1996.
Raja Anwar draws unmistakably convincing portraits of the obsessively ruthless Murtaza, his lieutenant, chief executioner and eventual victim, Salamullah Tipu, and the young workers who sacrificed their lives for a corrupted cause. Rich in detail available only to a participant in the turbulent events it portrays, The Terrorist Prince brilliantly fuses the tension and pace of a political thriller with the veracity of first-rate reportage. It is a compelling narrative of ruptures which continue to divide a deeply troubled Pakistan.